I truly think Korea could lose all its greatness, if there were not Korean people living there. Along the road, I want to make every one of you want to meet Korean people. In order to do that, I thought of writing a series of portraits of extraordinary friends I was lucky to make.
For this third article on the subject, I thought I would change from describing specific friends. This time, let me introduce you to “Piano In Yonsei”. During the second semester, I got into one of my university’s club. Being president of an association in Sciences Po, I was shocked by the way Korean manage their clubs.
The first encounters were quite disturbing. It started by a two pages questionnaire to fill in about our motivation and an interview to get in. Five Korean students of the club in a jury, asking questions and listening to the piano skills of candidates coming in, three by three. When I got in the room, I felt the pressure. Not on me, but on my fellow future-or-not-members. They were shivering, tripping over words and sweating as hell. However, when they started playing, I realized they were way better than me. Kindly enough, the jury asked me questions in English. Outside the American Idolish jury, everybody from the club I met seemed really fun and nice.
After my doubting hands’ catastrophic performance, I got a call asking me to be on time for the first meeting of the club. I got accepted! More surprising, I was the first, and the only non-Korean accepted in the club.
Against all the odds, my semester in Piano In Yonsei has been the greatest gift I could wish for. Part from my improvements on my piano skills, what made this experience unforgettable was my club mates.
There were forty Koreans and me, they all had Kakaotalk (Korean Whatsapp), and I did not. However, they did everything to make me feel part of their club, or more precisely their family. We had meetings every week, where we were talking about the future activities of the club (concerts, picnics, weekends etc.), having dinner, and as you may suspect it, drinking. Way too much drinking…
They took me to a “Members Training”, AKA a weekend of piano playing and soju drinking, sometimes both at the same time. They taught me more drinking games than I ever thought there existed. They taught me all the songs and dances of Yonsei. They made a lot of effort to speak a Korean I could understand or to speak English. They taught me much more about Korean friendship and culture than any course could do.
After a few months, I understood why they were interviewing us to get in: they wanted the ones who would make the most of the club. They wanted passionate and fun people to make their group so bonded.
Thank you for everything Piano In Yonsei, you have made my year!